As marketers, one of our goals is to connect with our customers in order to build a relationship. Have you considered how a loyalty program could increase engagement?

Hachiko is a full-service marketing company based in Sydney, Australia that specializes in creating and managing reward programs for their clients. The team helps build loyalty programs in the B2B space, to help companies engage with their customers.

Hachiko has found that:

  • 82% of people buy more from companies when they participate in loyalty and rewards programs.
  • 1.7x more revenue comes from engaged customers.
  • 55% of people will choose companies with loyalty programs versus those without.

Hachiko’s impressive loyalty programs are backed by a secret engine — email marketing — which powerfully connects Hachiko’s clients with their customers.

We talked to Patrina Kerr, Managing Director at Hachiko, about how the company is using email marketing to create loyalty programs that delight their clients, as well as their clients’ customers. Patrina’s had experience working at Microsoft and has been heading up efforts at Hachiko for over three years.

Patrina Kerr from Hachiko

Patrina sat down and talked to us about how rewards programs can increase engagement, and how email marketing can help make these programs a success.

What is a loyalty program?

Loyalty and rewards programs allow companies to connect with their customers in an organized way. Through participation, partners and customers can build rewards and collect points at they work towards a prize or other incentive.

How can companies benefit from loyalty and rewards programs?

Every business wants to retain their clients and grow their revenue. Loyalty programs are a way for companies to get measurable results from customer engagement efforts. These are strategic programs that are measurable where you can see what the ROI is going to be.

We create loyalty programs that drive specific business outcomes, whether it be for IT vendors who want to get more resellers, or maybe a company wants its business partners or employees to complete a training program, or a grow sales through an incentive program.

For example, a corner store owner might get an incentive from a wholesaler to purchase their stock through them rather than through an alternative channel. The wholesaler wants to sell more products, and through the rewards program, the store owner is incentivized to prioritize the food wholesaler as their preferred supplier over an alternative channel.

How can email marketing add to the success of loyalty programs?

Email is 90-95% of the way we communicate with participants in loyalty programs. From the launch of a program, we use email to take the individual on a journey through the particular rewards or loyalty program.

Email is used to break the programs down into small messages that the individual can digest. We don’t go out to them with a full novel — email allows us to break down our messages into logical phases. Particularly if it’s a training program, this is a good strategy. If it’s a sales program, we use email to send out the goals and regular progress updates.

Our rewards programs are very specific to each client, and for the particular outcomes we’re trying to drive. For example, we might do a sales incentive where people earn points for sales that they make, and the person at the end of the period who has the most points wins a car. We’d send out an email once they’ve registered, and then we’d send out subsequent emails with their points balance, as well as their ranking among the competition.

People sign up for these programs, and they are committed to their success. You’re dealing with someone who is already engaged.

We see that emails sends about the loyalty programs have double open rates as the industry standard. We see open rates at 40 – 70% for a program. People are engaged in the program– they want to know how they’re doing, and what rewards they are earning.

We’ve used social media to support these programs as well, but the results don’t compare to what we see with email marketing.

Can you share some examples of Hachiko’s loyalty program emails?

Sure! Here are a few of our loyalty program emails.

Amber Tradie’s Program

Amber Tradie’s Program is designed to create a direct connection with the trade channel and to provide an engagement mechanism for maintaining the relationship in the future.

Distributor’s Advantage

Participants can earn points on every purchase of Advantage Partner products with The Distributors. The Distributors Advantage program is designed to promote loyalty, sales, and rewards to its thousands of customers across Australia.


What advice would you give to others who want to leverage email marketing and loyalty programs?

We always try to personalize the subject line, and we’ve seen that really works. We’ve also done a lot with testing because some of our wording like “prize” and “free” can get caught up in filters. We’ve also found that using urgent language, such as “limited time” works well.

In Australia, almost everyone views email on their smartphones. We try to make it as easy as possible for people to view these emails on-the-go. We want all of our emails to look great on any device.

In general, I recommend keeping it simple. We think about what the single message is that we’re trying to get out in a communication. Each email should have one message, not five, and you can deliberately draw attention to your message with a call to action button. Make it clear to your customers, and don’t over-complicate the messaging or your process.

What can others learn from how Hachiko uses email marketing?

Hachiko creates and implements effective loyalty programs, all with the help of email. We have a lot to learn from Hachiko:

  • Use email marketing as an extension of company-wide initiatives – All of Hachiko’s loyalty programs have a goal in mind, and often this goal is connected to company-wide initiatives such as more sales, or increased customer loyalty. How can you maximize ROI with email?
  • Think about the journey – Hachiko is intent on creating programs that have high engagement rates, but they’re only able to accomplish these impressive numbers by thinking about the journey. They don’t send customers one-off emails. Instead, each message is an important step in the customer’s journey to get rewards, and they use email automation to standardize the experience.
  • Go beyond the newsletter – When we think about working on our email marketing efforts, we consider company newsletters or using email to enhance our content marketing efforts. Perhaps, though, we can find ways to go beyond these traditional types of emails, just like Hachiko does.

Wrap up

It’s clear that Hachiko is delighting their clients with their loyalty programs, and email marketing is the engine that drives this success. Hachiko’s programs encourage us to rethink how we incorporate customer engagement efforts into our email marketing strategies.

Hachiko’s story shows that email marketing is as relevant as ever. If we focus on who’s receiving our emails, and how to engage our audience, as Hachiko does, we’ll be well on our way to email marketing success.

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